Humans of POWH – Julie: Leukemia Cancer Patient (Blood Cancer Awareness Month)
September is Blood Cancer Awareness month, and the Foundation had the privilege to interview Julie. Julie is a patient at the Prince of Wales Hospital currently being treated for Leukemia in the Haematology wards. Her story is of bravery, heart and determination and we are in awe of her positivity during her treatment.
Q1: How did you find out about your diagnosis and how did the staff guide you through that process?
My initial symptoms included mouth ulcers and I noticed I would bruise easily. I was having mouth ulcers quite frequently way before the diagnosis but never thought much of them. One day I went to see my GP and I got tested which was when I was referred to my specialist Dr Giles. I come from Port Macquarie and Dr Giles advised me the devasting news that I had Leukemia. It was hard for me to accept at first and then Dr Giles said I needed to head down to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney to start receiving treatment immediately.
Q2: What has life been like since you found out about your diagnosis?
From the time I was diagnosed, Dr Giles said I had three days to get down to Prince of Wales Hospital to start my treatment. I had to organise my life and get down as soon as I could.
When I found out I had Leukemia I felt confused and angry. I was wondering “why was this happening to me?”. I’m not a religious person, but I do believe there is something out there and I just prayed to get better. I’m not ready to die and I just wanted to get better.
Q3: How has receiving treatment been like for you so far at POWH?
Excellent. All the nurses have been so lovely. Dr Giselle looks after me here at the hospital. My time here has been up and down a lot but the support from my partner and the staff here has been amazing. The support is what’s been getting me through treatment. Dr Giles said the best hospital to receive the treatment that I’m getting, is at Prince of Wales.
Q4: Any advice to patients or people who may be going through a similar experience as yourself?
I didn’t know much about leukemia before I was diagnosed. But when I found out I just had to get through it, otherwise I would die. I don’t want to die so I just kept going and did the treatment. I want to push through it. You must treat every day with positivity. My partner has been an amazing support system and I have been journaling everyday to get my thoughts down.